California is used to wildfires. But the Golden State’s record-breaking 2020 wildfire season was particularly brutal. A blistering heatwave fueled dozens of simultaneous fires – conditions that spurred Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide state of emergency. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their residences. But that was not – and is not – the only threat California residents face. The heavy rains earlier this year caused a collapse of a portion of Highway 1 near Big Sur due to a “debris flow” of trees, boulders, water, and mud, meaving behind a 150-foot-wide gap. Thousands of Monterey County residents were impacted by evacuation orders. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused many residents to question whether the common facilities they share with others are safe and to consider how to respond to an outbreak in their community.

Deconstructing Construction Defects

In California, the majority of construction defect claims for original residential construction are governed by the Right to Repair Act (Cal. Civil Code §§ 895-945.5) also commonly referred to as SB 800. The statutory framework of SB 800 defines what constitutes an actionable construction defect pursuant to enumerated ‘functionality standards’ for various components of construction. A violation of the functionality standards is actionable under the law and provides homeowners or community associations (hereinafter both referred to as ‘Homeowner(s)’) with a right to monetary compensation for the cost of repair and related damages. Homeowners are also entitled to recover reasonable investigative costs for each established violation. SB 800 additionally requires the parties to participate in a pre-litigation procedure designed to facilitate resolution and allow